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Marlow taekwondo star follows in his father’s footsteps
5:12pm Monday 10th February 2014 in Sport
THE acorn doesn’t fall too far from tree, and that’s certainly true for Andy and Conor Kipping from Marlow.
Dad Andy was a Taekwondo British champion in 1991, 1993 and 1994, and now his 13-year-old son is proving that talent is in the genes.
He has just been crowned World Childrens Junior Champion in Germany, after winning all four of his bouts by a complete landslide.
An 8-4 victory in the first round was as close as anyone came to stopping him, with a 10-1 second round victory earning him a place in the last four, when he actually went up a level to win 13-1 and 13-0.
Incredibly, his romp to the title came in his first ever appearance at the event.
But then he’s got a reputation for good first impressions.
His first competition of any kind was the prestigious Belgium Open in December 2012.
He promptly went out and won that, and then remained unbeaten for the best part of year as he scooped up the British Open, British Championships, Dutch Masters, London Open and Manchester Open.
It wasn’t until the semi-final of the Belgium Open in 2013 that he finally tasted defeat.
But a first world title isn’t a bad way to bounce back.
Dad Andy said: “I was surprised. He was a bit nervous in the first round but in the second round he stuck to the gameplan we’d been working on for the last two months.
“Then he stopped his opponent in the semi-final and final, meaning he had a 12-point advantage.”
Such dominance on the international stage is rare, but it wasn’t a complete surprise.
He’d been training with the England squad for a year already and a path to the Olympics appears to be set out in front of him.
Andy said: “He’s a pretty talented kid. I competed all around for the Great Britain so I know his ability.
“He’s intelligent and at the moment he’s a sponge. I’ve got a gameplan for him and he listens to everything I say, but it wouldn’t get anywhere if he couldn’t execute it.
“He’s very good, there is no doubt in my mind that he can be an Olympic player. 2020 is six years away and 19 in quite young, but it’s something we’re aiming for.
“If he’s going to achieve something at the Olympics it will be in 2020 or 2024.
“But there are world championships every year and a lot of stepping stones to aim for.”
The next few years will be formative though, both on and off the mat.
Andy said: “He’s beating everyone in his weight in the UK, but it’s going to a big jump now because he’s going from children to juniors, which is 14-17 years old.
“He’ll still be fighting in the same weight category, but there is a big difference mentally between a boy of 14 and someone who is 17.
“The next few years will be a bit of a transition, but he’s more than capable of meeting that challenge.”
What makes it extra special is that this is a family success story.
Conor puts in about 20 hours at week at Future Taekwondo, the gym where his dad coaches, and his sister Maia trains there as well.
Andy said: “I’m totally proud of him and we’ve got a really good bond.
“At that age, most boys are out on the street or playing Xbox, but we’ve got at least ten hours a week training together and that gives me time to understand his problems.
“My daughter Maia trains there as well and I’m proud of them both.”